An artist with an eye for energy  |

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An artist with an eye for energy 

Fiery, bold and engaging are all words that can be used to describe the aura of artist C.C. Opiela. Fittingly, all three adjectives are perfectly representative of her vast collection of mixed water-media works on canvas.

For over 40 years Opiela has painted and shown her work professionally. Throughout her long artistic journey, the passion and energy Opiela exudes as a both a human being and an artist has been unwavering. Both the passion and energy Opiela pours into every piece she creates literally jump from the canvases she adorns with vibrant and dramatic colors. With one glance at her newest series of work, every viewer is immediately struck by the engaging characteristics of Opiela’s combination of color and movement. 

Opiela began her adventure as an artist in the hallowed halls of the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of 16. While still only a teenager, Opiela opted to sacrifice her Saturday afternoons in order to surround herself with the masters of modern art. Her studies carried her into the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in studio arts and coupled her education endeavors with a series of courses in psychology. Opiela attributes much of the appeal in her work to her understanding of the human psyche. She is able to shape colors that are intentionally used to create excitement and energy into forms that accentuate her knowledge of the things that make people tick.

“When someone looks at my art, I am challenging their imaginative side to open up and let the art speak to them,” she said.

Opiela’s work has historically encompassed abstract design, with a strong focus on creating flourishing floral scenes. Recently, Opiela decided to expand the subjects shown in her paintings. It is a blessing for the world when such a well accomplished and well versed artist challenges herself to work in a new realm. For the first time ever, Opiela is incorporating wildlife into her realistically abstracted and wildly engaging works. The Art on a Whim gallery in Breckenridge is the first place Opiela has elected to show a series of brand new works depicting one of America’s favorite and most powerful animals: the horse. 

In this new horse series, Opiela’s characteristic abstraction brings new transcendence to one of the most beloved subjects of Western American art. Through masterful use of bold color and erratic brush-stroking, the artist conveys a commanding and deliberate passion for life. It is as though the viewer can feel the vibration of the galloping horses as the intense emotion of these high energy pieces runs through them. Through controlled chaos, Opiela harnesses a sense of wild passion and limitless energy to create something truly powerful and inspiring. 

Over the course of her illustrious career, Opiela’s work has graced the walls of movie sets, the South African Embassy, the collections of Exxon, IBM, the Hilton and Marriot Hotels and locally, one of Breckenridge’s premier destinations, One Ski Hill Place. For the next two Saturdays, Opiela will be meeting and mingling with visitors to the Art on a Whim gallery in Breckenridge. Her series of horse paintings is paired with a selection from her traditional works depicting beautiful floral scenes.